It is undeniable that seafood is not only delicious but also good for health. They are the guarantee of better life quality for their nutritive contribution. But sometimes, having a tasty seafood dish is not easy. This article, then, will share you some useful tips so you can master seafood in a mean time.
The very first step to have beautiful delicious dishes is high quality ingredient. For seafood, the quality is determined by the freshness. Therefore, you should have good eyes to choose the freshest one. It is not difficult if you remember some tips listed in here:
- Shop at busy market or supermarket as they have higher turnover so you have wider and better choice over your fish
- A fresh fish should have clear, translucent eyes, firm flesh and fresh smell. Those looks dull or discolored and smells fishy should not be picked
- Rather than shop for a certain type of fish, you should look for the freshest ones among them and then coming up with the dish. Similar fish can be substituted. Don’t insist for just one fish even they are not fresh and then regret because it tastes badly
- When buying fillets, opaque and firm flesh with vibrant skin indicated good quality fillet. Fillet should also smell like mineral water than fishy
Crabs, Lobsters, Prawn and Shellfish
- You should buy live seafood and pick those who appear active. Ones with lifeless movement are not a good choice either.
- Tap on the shell of the shellfish, if they show response to this action, then they are alive. After cooking, you should eliminate shellfish that does not open their shells.
- Fresh mussels will give you the heavy feeling and closed shells. Prawns should have long tentacles with not black spot in their heads or dropping heads. Oysters must be purchased alive. Fresh shucked oysters will look plump and translucent.
Since seafood is very easy to go bad, proper storage process will not only help you maintain your seafood freshness until you cook them but also save your money for buying expensive food. Below are some useful tips in seafood preservation:
- Keep your seafood alive as long as possible. Freshness will decide your dish quality later
- Never store shellfish, crabs, shrimps, scallops or lobsters in the water or put them in the bucket. They will die sooner. Use cardboard box or paper bag, cover them with moist towers and put them under cold condition
- Make sure you clean your seafood before storing. Any dirt or sand remained will reduce the preservation time
- Drain water from your seafood before place them in containers.
- The perfect temperature for fridge storing is from 320F to 400F (in the coldest part of your refrigerator). For longer preservation, put your seafood in the freezer for three to ten months storing. Some seafood such as shellfish, lobsters… will require difference condition, so you should make sure you look for storing information before putting them in the freezer.
No matter how careful you are when storing your seafood, you will ruin all you effort just by thawing your seafood wrong. Here some reminders when defrosting your seafood.
- Don’t place your seafood under room temperature or thaw them in warm water. This action will create chance for spreading bacteria.
- Put your frozen seafood in the refrigerator one day ahead for defrosting. Make sure you put them in containers to prevent leakage and odor in your fridge
- If you are in a rush, place your seafood in sealed plastic bags and immerse it in cold water in the fridge for one or two hour
There are some notes for cooking preparation for food safety.
- Wash your hand with soap under hot water before and after handling raw seafood or any raw ingredients
- Make sure you cook your seafood right away after thawing them. Don’t let them sit in the room temperature for long time, it will reduce their freshness and will be spoiled quicker
- Before cooking, rinse your seafood under cold water again to eliminate any possible bacteria
- Always marinate your seafood in the refrigerator, and don’t marinate them for long time, it will make your seafood loses their texture and looks soggy
- Make sure you separate raw seafood with other ingredients, use separate utensils as well. Don’t let seafood juice rip into cooked food; this will lead to cross-contamination
- Wash counters, utensils, cutting board, kitchenware, containers properly under hot, soapy water immediately after using them or before using them again. This will prevent cross-contamination as well
This is not only the final step but also the most important step in appreciating heaven taste of the ocean. The cooking skills are developed with time, dedication and love, and there are small tips that can help you along the way
- Don’t overcook your seafood. For fish, you measure the thickness and multiple each inch with 10 minutes, the result is your ideal cooking time. Shellfish is fully cooked when they open their shell in just a few minutes. Overcooked fish will fall apart and overcooked shellfish will be rubbery and tough
- Fish with thickness less than ½ inch is not require turning
- Fish is done when its flesh become opaque. The cooking process is still going on after you turn off the stove, so make sure you manage your cooking time for not burning your dish
- Start with cool poaching liquid and warm it together with your fish to prevent uneven cooking
- Deep fried fish will need oil temperature between 350 and 3750 Make sure your oil hot before put your fish in
- Use less seasoning when cooking seafood. Strong seasoning will dominant seafood flavor. The ideal taste is delicate flavor which elevates seafood’s freshness and texture
- Don’t flip your fish too often. Fish will release from cooking surface on its own when it is ready.
- Even it is not recommended but if you have to cooked your frozen fish, double its time on the oven.